Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lynda Graham of Sutton and her B&B

Gîte Vert Le Mont B & B in Sutton - A love Story For Lynda Graham

By M. Helmuth Starhemberg
"Seven years later I am still in love with this business" smiled Lynda Graham, the owner of one of the finest Bed and Breakfast places in Sutton, "Gite Vert de Mont". Lynda is originally from Great Britain, her dad was a famous chef, she trained as a chef and for some years was the chef of one of the finest dining establishments in Sutton. May I be forgiven for using the first person thing again (I know, I have been told not to!), but the evening we moved into Sutton, our great friend, realtor and town councillor Louis Dandenault, invited us to Lynda's kitchen and to this day I have never had a bowl of mussels as delicious as those served us on the 14th of December 2,000.
Eventually, Lynda decided to strike out on her own and she purchased a beautiful house built in 1916. It has the original wainscoating, parquet floors, a great carved door she installed, which predated the house by possibly 50 years, original furniture pieces and a nice front door lock chain made for the home when it was first built.
Everything else has been redone in the most tasteful colors with delightful shades of grey and beige alternating in hallways and bathrooms, accented by a superb collection of original art.

Art is everywhere, sculptures are in front of the house, next to the great verandah and in a two acre (estimated by me) sculpure garden in the lovely landscaped grounds, where many local artists have had their first showings. But many pieces are owned by Lynda outright. "If I really like it, I have to have it" she explains. "There are pieces just to beautiful to go elsewehere, so I splurge on myself and buy them".
The philosophy of her business? " This is your home but you do not have to do any work", she tells her guests. People have the run of the house from the dining hall to the nice outdoor spaces. Lynda will arrange tours, is a wizard in finding new things to do, knows pretty much every hiking and biking venue and deals with every vineyard, museum, gallery or local event organizer. "My objective is to give the best possible breakfast, the nicest rooms and every assistance I can give to my guests to make their stay enjoyable. And I do not charge exorbitant prices. Almost everyone can afford to be a guest in my home".
Actually, Lynda's breakfasts are a local legend and she goes out of her way to use locally made or grown  products from fruit to cheese, to bread and meat.
"What is the busiest time ?" I asked. "Summer now", Lynda explains. "It used to be in winter because of the skiing but in the past few years, Sutton has emerged as a summer designation because of the great outdoor activities available, plus, we have the jazz festival , the Tour des Arts and weekly cultural events such as concerts at the Salle Pelletier".
I interviewed numerous other tourism related businesses in Sutton and the answer about "when is your busiest time" seems to be "Summer and early fall", which is a great switch from only ten years ago when everyone lamented the day the ski hill closed for the season.
Today, Friday June 18, Sutton town crews hung beautiful hanging plants everywhere in town and Lynda Graham and every other business in this tourism dependent town is looking forward to welcome its guests for another year. So are the cyclists which are starting to arrive in town in droves.

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